Volunteer Spotlight: Mikaela Curtis

We interviewed Mikaela to learn more about her experience in helping the SLO Food Bank.

Name: Mikaela Curtis
Program: Nutrition Education & Special Events
Number of Volunteer Hours: 40+

Please share your name, and a bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Mikaela Curtis and I am a 4th year nutrition student at Cal Poly. I will be graduating in Spring 2016, and couldn’t be more excited to start my career as a nutrition professional! I’m from a small town in the Sierra Nevada near Yosemite, called Twain Harte, CA. I moved to SLO a few years ago for school, and love being outdoors, snowboarding, going on hikes, hanging out at the beach and baking.

When and how did you first hear about volunteering with the Food Bank? What programs and events have you been involved with?
I first heard about the SLO Food Bank when a few program staff came into a nutrition class in January 2015 to recruit volunteers. I needed community service hours and was drawn to the mission, so I figured I’d give it a shot. This has proved to be one of the best opportunities that could have been presented to me! I’ve since been volunteering on my own time.

I’ve been involved with nutrition outreach events all over the county. In October, I suited up as Sandy the Sandwich at the Munchkin March, and had a blast acting silly while representing a healthy snack.

What inspires you to be involved and give back to the community?
I truly enjoy helping others. It makes me happy to see the joy spread across others’ faces when they receive food or a warm smile from staff and volunteers.

I remember talking to a man at the Friends of the Food Bank event, who told me that we weren’t simply giving him food, but were handing him a “bag of sunshine.” That moment made me realize my volunteer impact. I always leave with a smile as I think about the families who are able to enjoy a meal together.

How do you see Nutrition Education making a difference locally?
As a nutrition volunteer, we educate recipients on how to make healthy food choices and use their resources effectively. It is particularly important to educate the youth in our community, so they can start applying it to their lives at a young age.